The future of Euratom, the European Community's Nuclear Research Agency, is being considered by the Community's Council of Ministers.
The future of Euratom, the European Community's Nuclear Research Agency, is being considered by the Community's Council of Ministers. Before the Ministers is a report on the cost of closing down the Euratom Operation. The Council -- the Community's decision-making body -- must decide on a five-year contract for Euratom or see to its closure.
In January, Britain, France, and the Netherlands prevented the adoption of a new five-year programme proposed by the European Commission for Euratom. The Commission's proposal would have ended much of the work now being done by Euratom in the industrial nuclear field, and replaced it with basic research and non-nuclear projects in such fields as medicine, the environment and industrial standards.
The Commission, which wants to give the Community's common research effort new life, feels that if the British, French and Dutch approach prevails, it would be better to do away with Euratom altogether.
The last comprehensive research programme for Euratom was initiated in 1962. It was completed five years ago and since then the research scientists have been unable to plan their work more than a year in advance.
The idea of the European Atomic Energy Agency was formed at the Messina Conference in 1955, together with that of the European Economic Community. Euratom's role was to create 'the conditions necessary for the speedy establishment and growth of nuclear industries in the Community' by encouraging public and or private research in atomic energy.
Euratom's nuclear research assignment was to undertake research at its own Joint Research Centres which employ a staff of 2000.
Ispra in Italy is the home of the largest of Euratom's four establishments, a second is in operation at Mol in Belgium, a third at Karlsruhe in West Germany, and a fourth at Petten in The Netherlands.